Why did you start Thrive Personal Fitness in 2009, and what’s the mission?
It was actually plan B. It was a career shift. I had been working in banking. It was 2008, early 2009, when I started to reassess what I wanted to do, because we all know things started to fall apart for some of the big banks. It was something personally I had been very passionate about for a while. The mission is really to help, particularly women, build happier and healthier lives. It is really about education and, even though it is an overused word, empowerment.
What is your business model?
My goal is to put the personal back in personal training. It’s not an open gym; it is a personal training studio. I do a customized, habits-based approach. I only have about 30 clients right now. Some of those folks I see in person a couple of times a week, some of them I only work with online. Nutrition is a very important piece, and stress management, time management and other self-care, like sleep. For each client, it is an individual journey.
There’s no shortage of fad diets and exercise routines. What’s the difference with your approach?
It’s habits. The first thing we work on before we talk about what goes on the plate is learning to tune into what your own body needs. I just want you to eat slow for two weeks. Just take more than 5 minutes to eat. We forgot to listen to what our own bodies are telling us.
How can businesses promote wellness in the workplace?
Culture and environment. You can put a lot of lip service out about having healthy snacks available and making time for people to go exercise and volunteer, because that is good for mental wellness. But if someone is made to feel guilty because they take that 30 minutes off to exercise, it’s completely ineffective. It’s not just putting the policies into place. It’s culture. Ask your employees: What are your challenges? If you don’t feel like you can get exercise during the week or you don’t feel like you have enough time to sit and eat your lunch, for example.
Are local businesses participating in corporate wellness?
I think there has been a sense of frustration because it’s hard to measure return on investment when it comes to hiring speakers to come in and providing exercise time. Good habits don’t always result in weight loss. There was a big interest a few years ago, but without a hard return on investment, it’s waned a little bit. What I’m hoping to see is as things in the wellness industry take a more holistic, healthy-at-any-size, habits approach, and we see that it’s the right thing to do from an employee health and an employee productivity and retention standpoint, it will start to swing up.
What are some of the trends that businesses are picking up related to workplace wellness?
Standing workstations are great. Giving people flexibility to move is really important. Walking meetings or standing meetings have been shown to actually improve productivity because they last about 10 minutes less, as well as everybody gets their brain flowing. You have so many different populations, and unfortunately the populations as far as physical movement are trending worse. It’s trying to find ways that you can get people up and moving more naturally that is accessible to everybody.
Pamela Hernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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